One of the most common mistakes coaches see in novice and intermediate swimmers is their breathing. Being able to breath correctly will make freestyle swimming much easier. It will improve your balance in the water and surprisingly will make you a lot more relaxed in the water.
The secret here is to become more relaxed at exhaling and to do this whenever your head is in the water. That way you only have to breath in when you rotate your head to breath.
Most of the time swimmers can be seen to be exhaling just before they turn their head to breath, getting ready for the inhale when the head is turned. Exhaling whilst the head is in the water has several effects.
How come that person is so much faster at kicking than I am, I hear you say, you always kick hard but for some reason you are not that fast.
Lets take a look at some things you can do when you are practising that will help.
Its important to start each stroke with the correct hand entry, this first part of the stroke defines all of what then happens in the stroke. If you get the right entry and you will catch the water correctly. If you enter the water wrong it then becomes more difficult to then recover.
We have all read it or said it over the years: swimming is all about technique, technique, technique.
Researchers have discovered that the old excellence by excess system – that is – repeat a simple skill in training ad finitum until it is mastered is not the best way to improve skills performance in competition.
The idea is that learning skills is a continuum. On one end of the continuum is what is called Stability and at the other end Instability or Chaos.
Where the training environment is reasonably Stable (i.e. constant, unchanging, consistent, the same), the racing environment is Chaotic with swimmers having to execute skills and make tactical decisions in a very Unstable (i.e. rapidly changing, inconsistent, variable) setting.
The research suggests that doing more skills work in an Unstable environment in training, i.e. one that is changing, different and variable, stimulates a swimmer’s brain to learn how to execute those skills more effectively in racing.
With the Internet and the way we know kids are using it and seeking information, the presentation of skills and drills work the same way over and over and over again is counter productive to the learning process.
In practice this means getting rid of the old 40 x 25 one arm freestyle drills etc and instead focusing on achieving a higher standard of quality in each repeat and continuously changing the learning environment to stimulate the swimmer’s thinking.
Chaos drill theory means varying how drills are presented to swimmers to teach them to think and learn more effectively.
Old Way of doing Drill A, then Drill B, the Drill C:
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA followed by BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB then CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
Chaos Drill Concept:
Try it – use your imagination to vary the presentation of drills.
You need to follow a 5x5x5 philosophy – can you teach the same lesson using five different drills, presented five different ways in five minutes?